Voters to choose MPs in four federal byelections across country next month
OTTAWA — Voters in four federal ridings will go to the polls next month.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Sunday the four byelections will be held June 19 to fill seats in three provinces.
In the Manitoba riding of Winnipeg South Centre, Liberal candidate Ben Carr is looking to win the seat held by his father, longtime MP and former cabinet minister Jim Carr, who died in December.
The southern Manitoba riding of Portage-Lisgar was left vacant when Conservative MP and former interim party leader Candice Bergen resigned in February. She soon became co-chair of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative election campaign, ahead of the provincial ballot this October.
Liberal MP and former cabinet minister Marc Garneau, the retired astronaut who held the Quebec riding Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount, resigned in March after 15 years in politics.
"I've climbed all my mountains and I'm very happy with that and I want to spend my time with my family," he said at the time.
Dave MacKenzie, Conservative MP for the southwestern Ontario riding of Oxford, stepped down in January.
All four ridings have been relative strongholds for the incumbent parties in recent elections.
Portage-Lisgar will see one of the more high-profile battles, as Conservative nominee Branden Leslie, who was raised on his family's farm, tries to hold the seat for the party.
Leslie, a former campaign manager for Bergen, has recently worked for the Grain Growers of Canada, advocating for farmers.
He will face off against People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier. The outspoken Bernier failed to win a seat in the Quebec riding of Beauce in the last two general elections and in Toronto in a 2020 byelection.
Bernier was a prominent member of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, serving as minister in the industry and foreign affairs portfolios. Disenchanted with the Tories, he left the party in 2018.
During the 2021 election campaign he attracted the support of disgruntled Conservatives, right-wing ideologues and people who opposed COVID-19 vaccinations and lockdowns.
The Liberals say Kerry Smith of the Manitoba Métis Federation is their candidate in Portage-Lisgar, while the NDP have yet to nominate someone.
Elections Canada said Sunday that advance polls would be open in the four ridings from June 9 to 12.
Eligible voters can cast a ballot at their local Elections Canada office any time through June 13. They can also apply by that date to vote by special ballot, which can be returned by mail or in person.
Alberta Conservative MP Bob Benzen resigned his seat in the riding of Calgary Heritage at the end of last year. A byelection must be called there by July 2 to select a new member.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2023.
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version identified Andrew Carrier as the Liberal candidate and Ken Friesen as the NDP candidate for the coming byelection in the Manitoba riding of Portage-Lisgar.